E-commerce companies adopting electric vehicles to cut down costs

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The boom in electric vehicles ( EV) is not only springing up from customer demand along with increasing demand from e-commerce and hyperlocal delivery firms. In terms of the number of electric vehicles operating on its highways, India has surpassed China. Distribution and e-commerce start-ups such as Flipkart, Swiggy, and Bigbasket are also contributing to the overall demand for EVs, especially in the two-wheeler segment.

EV scooter manufacturers like Ather Energy, eBikeGo, and Okinawa are helping e-commerce and food supply companies transform their petrol-based scooters used for delivery to more cost-effective EV variants.

More than 2 crore two-wheelers are operating in India, according to industry figures, and a large chunk of these two-wheelers are being used for food delivery, e-commerce, and other last-mile logistics facilities. Most of these vehicles are scooters running on petrol. EV companies including Ather Energy, EbikeGo, and Okinawa are attempting to convert this fleet into EV scooters.

Bigbasket and Flipkart are also gradually converting their larger procurement trucks into EV-powered vehicles which are expected to reduce the supply chain cost drastically. Bigbasket, which employs its delivery staff on a fulltime basis unlike Swiggy and Zomato, said that when the delivery staff chooses to use EVs for their deliveries, they can pay 30-40 percent extra as salary. This is possible because the delivery staff can now save on petrol costs. Bigbasket is now taking a step further by developing its charging station system through its dark stores, which are small warehouses scattered across the cities in which they operate, as well as across its fulfillment centers.

Currently, Bigbasket has launched more than 4,000 EV scooters in Bengaluru and plans to increase the number by next year. While Flipkart also aims at transitioning its logistics operations to a 100 percent EV model by 2030, for which the e-commerce company aims to install charging infrastructure across 1,400 supply chain premises in its network.

In an interview, Mr. KB Nagaraju, Chief Customer Experience Officer, Bigbasket said that, for a typical delivery person, EVs are quite economical, for the delivery staffs making 400 to 500 deliveries a month and with electric vehicles, the same delivery person can save this fuel cost, and effectively his net income will increase by at least 30%-40% per month.

 Electric vehicle manufacturer eBikeGo, based in Delhi is currently supplying EV scooters to delivery companies such as  Zomato, Bigbasket, and brands such as Burger King and Nandos.

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